Damages: How Much Is A Personal Injury Case Worth?
There might be times when you plan to file a lawsuit for personal injury over a car accident, but then you ask yourself if it’s worth it. The answer you’re looking for depends on how the injury has damaged you monetarily, physically, and mentally.
In these types of cases, the injured person or plaintiff usually receives more money from the one who was responsible for the accident or the defendant. Sometimes, damage awards can be negotiated and agreed upon among the parties, insurance companies, and attorneys. Sometimes, it may follow a court trial too as ordered by a judge.
The following are the different types of damages that usually happen in personal injury cases and how the injured person’s action can affect the damage compensation.
Compensatory Damages In Personal Injury Cases
Most of the time, personal injury damages are considered compensatory, or the plaintiff is to be compensated for what they lost because of the injury. The purpose of this is to make the injured “complete” again from a monetary point of view. You’re going to try and contextualize the consequences of the accident concerning money. Some damages are easily quantifiable like medical bills but in cases wherein the plaintiff has lost the ability to enjoy activities or based on pain due to injuries that are still lingering.
Here are some of the kinds of compensatory damages that usually happen:
Medical treatment. This is almost always included in personal injury damages and can come in the form of reimbursement for the treatment received and to compensate for future medical costs related to the accident.
Income. The plaintiff can also be compensated for the effect of the accident on their salary as the injury affects the money they would’ve earned in the future. This is usually to pay for the victim’s loss of earning capacity.
Property loss. You’re also entitled to ask for reimbursement for repairs in case any of your property was damaged due to the accident.
Pain and suffering. Compensation is also available for the pain and suffering one experienced during the accident, after it, and also for any ongoing ones.
Emotional distress. This usually happens in more severe accidents to compensate for the accident or the injury’s impact on the plaintiff’s psyche like experiencing fear and anxiety. Sometimes this is under pain and suffering.
Loss of enjoyment. You could receive a loss of enjoyment damages if the injuries you received prevented you from enjoying your daily activities or hobbies.
Loss of consortium. This one is available based on the impact of the injuries on the plaintiff’s spouse. For example, if the plaintiff experiences loss of companionship or a separate effect on the mother and child, this can be used to compensate. This is awarded to the family member than the plaintiff.
Punitive Damages In Personal Injury Cases
If the defendant’s conduct is judged to be careless, the plaintiff can receive punitive damages along with compensatory damages award. The goal of these damages is to give punishment to the defendant due to their conduct and become a deterrent. This can sometimes reach millions of dollars, so there are caps on the damage awards for this.
How A Plaintiff’s Action Can Reduce The Compensation
If the plaintiff had a role in causing the accident or inaction after the injury, this could reduce the damages available.
Comparative negligence. Even if you’re only partially at fault for the accident, it will still be reflected in the damage award because most states follow this standard that can link the damages to the plaintiff’s degree of fault.
Contributory negligence. Some states follow this, and they will deem you unable to get any compensation if you’re considered to be even if just partially at fault for the accident.
After the accident: failure to fix damages. Most states have laws that expect the plaintiff to mitigate the financial impact of the injuries due to the accident. If the plaintiff does not reduce the damages unreasonably like worsening the injuries, the damages award will be reduced.